Morris agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with San Antonio in the summer. But he reneged to sign a one-year, $15 million contract with the Knicks.
Yet, Popovich never explained where is ire was directed. Morris? Agent Rich Paul, who left Morris over the saga? The Knicks?
Before and after the Spurs’ 120-111 win over New York yesterday, Popovich indicated he’s upset with the Knicks rather than Morris.
RJ Marquez of KSAT:
- Reporter: “Did you see that the Knicks handled anything unprofessionally, or was it just Marcus’ end?”
- Popovich: “Who signed him? I thought it was the Knicks that signed him.”
After the game – during which Morris repeatedly got booed by San Antonio fans – Popovich sought out Morris on the court:
Morris, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“It was a great moment,’’ Morris said. “Going back and, like I said in the beginning, me and Pop had open conversations the entire time. And the thing he said to me was don’t allow the media to come in between of what we talked about. That meant a lot. I didn’t know how he felt. I spoke to him after I made my decision. So it was good to clear the air and I got nothing but respect for him, [GM] Brian Wright, [CEO] R.C. [Buford], they’ve been nothing but good to me during my career.”
Morris keeps saying he spoke to Popovich after deciding on the Knicks. But previously asked whether Morris reached out to explain himself, Popovich said, “Not really.”
Still, Popovich’s actions and words yesterday were more clear. His problem appears to be with the Knicks.
Is that fair? Both Morris and the Knicks were complicit in the situation. Maybe the Knicks did something underhanded that we don’t know about, but they couldn’t have poached Morris without Morris agreeing. Remember, the Spurs have been accused of interfering with the Knicks’ and Lakers’ business. The NBA is a cutthroat league.
What’s unfair: Blaming the media. We’re getting a second-hand account of what Popovich said, but Popovich is the one who used the word “unprofessionally” then countered Morris’ recollection. Of course, people would think Popovich might be mad at Morris. That’s on Popovich. Even yesterday’s updates require reading between the lines.